WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Guests aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, where a Winston-Salem woman has been stuck, will soon have the option to finish out their quarantine on land.
Candace Culcleasure, a singer for the cruise line, has been stuck onboard the Princess cruise line ship that's docked in Japan on a forced quarantine due to an outbreak of the coronavirus.
There are more than 100 confirmed cases on the ship, and, as of an 11 p.m. Wednesday update, that number grew by another 44.
"She's in good spirit and they're trying to pass the time while they're there in quarantine," Pastor Alvin Armstead said.
The Wednesday update says guests quarantined on the ship will be given a choice, according to Princess Cruises. They can stay on the ship or they can disembark to complete their quarantine period at a shoreside facility.
It is unclear if this option also applies to employees like Colcleasure.
This will be done in phases, beginning with the most medically-vulnerable guests first.
Those who test positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus will be moved to a local hospital.
Those who test negative will be allowed to leave the ship and go to a quarantine housing facility with individual rooms and bathrooms.
Culcleasure's mom says, as of now, she's coronavirus-free.
The facilities have no clinics, and, while prescription medication will be provided, any other medical care will need to be done at a hospital or clinic.
Those staying at the temporary facilities will be given Japanese bento-style boxes of food. Princess Cruises says officials won't be able to accommodate dietary preferences, only certain medical conditions.
"No Western meals will be available," Princess Cruises said in the announcement.
In light of the quarantine, a church community in Winston-Salem is rallying around one of their own.
"We're lifting her up and those passengers, and the Princess lines Diamond cruise ship," said Armstead on Sunday.
In a brightly lit sanctuary, members of the United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church prayed.
"A mother who's awaiting her daughter's safe return home," Armstead said. "You're watching the news and you're hearing about the story, and it seems so far away. But obviously getting a call from a member of my congregation. It hit home for us."
Armstead leads his church in prayer every week.
But this past Sunday, Evetter Culcleasure called him with the news that her daughter, Candace, was on the other side of the world.
"It impacted us a lot and everyone in the room kinda felt just how close it hit to home and how concerning it could be for a parent waiting for a child's safe return," Armstead said.
He said her love of entertaining and sharing her voice began beneath the stained glass windows of the church.
"Her voice in the community and in the church was a part of her life in the church, down through the years, until her career took her abroad, which is an exciting thing," Armstead said.
The pastor says the community remains at the ready to do whatever they can to help.
"They have a community that's standing with them and behind them," Armstead said. "If there's anything she needs, we would help and support her in any way.